A single goal late in the first half was enough to give Brentford a win over AFC Wimbledon in a pre-season friendly. The game was played in very warm conditions and the first period failed to capture the imagination, but Brentford scored in the dying moments of it. The second period was livelier and threatened further goals, but none were forthcoming, and The Bees got the win.
The first half was, for long periods, unexciting. The strength of the sun, which made it a hot afternoon in South London, probably didn’t help and the number of free kicks given was also a factor. The game was stop-start, it lacked flow and neither team was able to put together spells of attacking possession.
Bryan Mbeumo floated a free kick narrowly wide of the far post early on, and then fired one in at the near post from the right channel later in the half. Nik Tzanev got down well to save the latter shot but was mostly untroubled until Brentford went ahead. That goal came down the right, as did most of Brentford’s attacking play. Saman Ghoddos was able to turn in the penalty area and his cross was half cleared. Fin Stevens lofted a shot over Tzanev, but it hit the crossbar and bounced down. Joel Valencia reacted quickest to dive and head in.
The goal came as Brentford started to take control of the game. While The Bees would probably have wanted to do more in attack, they were solid at the back. David Raya was untroubled and as the half wore on, The Bees were playing more on the front foot and in Wimbledon territory, which enabled them to take the lead before the break.
The pace of the game increased after half time. Wimbledon’s second half line-up had three central defenders, they put more players in to attacking areas and both sides increased their intensity. Luke McCormick had a shot deflected wide for the hosts before an effort from Huseyin Biler was blocked. Patrik Gunnarsson was forced in to a low save when Ayoub Assal miss-controlled a Corie Andrews lay-off with such power that it turned in to a shot. The Brentford goalkeeper got down to palm it wide.
With temperatures remaining high, there was a water break in each half and both sides could have scored just after the pause in the second period. A fine pass from Luke Racic released Sergi Canós on the left side, he played a low ball in, Tariqe Fosu weaved clear of defenders, but shot wide from ten yards. A run from Assal at the other end then set up McCormick, but he fired over the crossbar.
Wimbledon probably had slightly the better of the second half and could have levelled late on. McCormick missed the target after twisting free on the edge of the penalty area and Gunnarsson saved from Assal. The Bees could have had the final word from a half cleared corner. Shandon Baptiste got away from his man and delivered a cross for Racic, but his header was blocked. The ball dropped loose, and Charlie Goode got a shot off, but once again he couldn’t beat the defenders on the line. A second would probably have flattered The Bees but they did enough to get a pre-season win.
AFC Wimbledon (First Half): Tzanev; Alexander, Heneghan, Trialist, Guinness-Walker; Hartigan, Woodyard; Chislett, Fisher (sub Robinson 33 mins), Rudoni; Palmer
AFC Wimbledon (Second Half): Oualah; Biler, Ogundere, Charles, Kalambayi, Osew; Assal, Marsh, Bolton (sub Trialist 76 mins), McCormick; Andrews
Brentford (First Half): Raya; Roerslev, Russell, Pinnock, Gordon; Ghoddos, Janelt (sub Stevens 13 mins), Gilbert; Mbeumo, Toney, Valencia
Brentford (Second Half): Gunnarsson; Stevens, Goode, Racic, Thompson; Baptiste, Oksanen, Haygarth; Fosu, Mogensen (sub Gordon 87 mins), Canós